By Louisa Ermelino -- Publishers Weekly, 5/30/2009
And, according to Joe Drabyak, of Chester County Books in West Chester, Pa.: “I don’t think anybody’s going to make money on The Lost Symbol. For The Da Vinci Code he was embraced by the independents. We sold 2,800 hardcover copies. We were one of the stores that had him for a signing. It’s going to be like Harry Potter. Everybody’s going to have Dan Brown. I’m very concerned about the price war. Amazon is discounting it 48% and Barnes & Noble’s going to counter.”
Another overheard comment, positive this time, was that because there are so many strong lists from so many publishers, rather than the competition making sales more difficult, it will bring people into the stores.
“There are fabulous novels by William Trevor [Love and Summer, Viking, Sept.], A.S. Byatt [The Children’s Book, Knopf, Oct.] Margaret Atwood [The Year of the Flood, Doubleday/Talese, Sept.] and Dan Chaon [Await Your Reply, Ballantine, Aug.], said Sheryl Cotleur, buying director from Book Passage in Corte Madera, Calif. “It’s as if all these authors jumped forward just when the publishing industry needed them. There’s also Paul Auster [Invisible, Holt, Oct.], Nicholson Baker [The Anthologist, Simon & Schuster, Sept.], Jeannette Walls [Half-Broke Horses, Scribner, Oct.] and Barbara Kingsolver [The Lacuna, Harper, Nov.]. For nonfiction, forthcoming are Malcolm Gladwell [What the Dog Saw, Little, Brown, Oct.], Rebecca Solnit (A Paradise Built in Hell, Viking, Aug.] and Diane Ackerman [Dawn Light, Norton, Sept.]. I was going through the catalogues just flipping out—not only who’s publishing but the quality. We couldn’t need it more.”
Highly anticipated from Little Brown/Reagan Arthur in January is the sophomore effort from award-winner Joshua Ferris, The Unnamed, whose protagonist is a man who can’t stop walking. Michael Pietsch couldn’t stop talking about it at the autographing section and while he is the publisher, his enthusiasm went beyond business.